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Women in key positions within matrixed work environments may be better prepared for growth in the global economy throughout the coming century. As industries grow globally and face more and more diverse challenges, they may find that their key female executives better suited than their male counterparts to meet those challenges.
In a series of in-depth interviews with dozens of executives and managers with experience leading matrix teams, Hay Group, the global management consultancy, found certain traits such as empathy and conflict management, were consistently found to be more prevalent among women executives. Consider some of their findings:
“Hay Group research has found that high levels of emotional intelligence are critical in matrix work environments, where individuals are required to lead by influence, rather than lead through direct authority,” said Ruth Malloy, global managing director for leadership and talent at Hay Group. “Women often face barriers throughout their careers that require them to develop these skills to excel and advance in their organizations, in effect better preparing them for the challenges and complexities of leading in a matrix.”
Hay Group did find that gender disparities below the management level were not as pronounced. But as the level of leadership increases and requires a greater ability to influence and not just direct, the need for skills associated with more developed emotional intelligence levels also increases. Organizations that grow those important soft skills in their current management, or seek out individual with these qualities when hiring, will be better poised to take on any new challenge in the industry, not just individually, but collaboratively with their entire team.